Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi is not one to take no for an answer, not after he had to fight to make the Cleveland Browns’ 90-man roster by talking his way into a tryout during the spring, and the rookie receiver from Phoenix College now is making headlines during his first NFL training camp.
Thus far, Sheehy-Guiseppi has made the most of his opportunity by turning in a solid effort in training camp and having an electrifying 86-yard punt return touchdown in Thursday’s 30-10 win over the Washington football team at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.
“I would just describe it as someone trying to chase their dreams, just doing what they love and not listening to anybody else, just what they have a drive for and a passion for. That’s how I would describe it,” Sheehy-Guiseppi said after Friday’s practice.
“Anybody can go out there and know that they can get a job somewhere in the city, but then, they’re not going to be happy with that. They’re just driving for the passion and the dream they want to have fun with.”
Sheehy-Guiseppi spent his last $200 to pay for training ahead of his tryout with the Browns and slept outside in Miami, Florida with only his two bags and a patch of grass serving as his makeshift home.
Because Sheehy-Guiseppi’s journey was anything but conventional, he hopes others draw inspiration from his path.
“I hope so, most definitely,” Sheehy-Guiseppi said. “I don’t know if I’m an inspiration, but I hope that people just see it.
“I get inspired by little things. I could see someone in here working out and sweating, and that inspires me. If I can inspire somebody to do great things, then I hope they get inspired, but I don’t know if I look at myself as an inspiration.”
One of the places Sheehy-Guiseppi has found his most inspiration is in his family, particularly by watching his mother build her own marketing company from the ground up.
“She just has a big passion in everything she does and I just have a drive,” Sheehy-Guiseppi said. “She told me, and my dad too, they told me, ‘Just be great at whatever you do and just go as hard as you can,’ so if I can’t sleep or anything, I just try to get better at the little things.
“I would just say it was my mom just giving me a bunch of opportunities to get me knowledge, to think outside the box, just try use things to your advantage and meet everybody you could possibly meet and use that to your advantage.”
Late in the fourth quarter of the preseason opener against Washington, Sheehy-Guiseppi was called on to help on special teams and made the most of the opportunity, as he fielded a punt at his own 14-yard line and hustled down the right sideline for a touchdown.
As Sheehy-Guiseppi leapt across the goal line for the touchdown, the Browns’ bench erupted in jubilation, and nearly the entire team stormed the field to celebrate with the upstart pass catcher in the East end zone at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“I think it’s just Coach Kitchens,” Sheehy-Guiseppi said. “It starts with the head coach. He just has a very strong core, is very true to himself and just shows a lot of emotion to everybody.
“That just pours out and people just see other people doing well and they’re just excited in the locker room because Coach Kitchens kind of just brings that aura in our locker room. It just starts with him and just starts going down.”